As we dig deeper into #SoupSeason it occurred to me that I’ve never shared this version of Oxtail Soup with you. For most people outside the Caribbean, the texture and consistency (loaded with root vegetables) of this soup will be more comparable to a stew. However such is the case for most soups from the Caribbean. And yes, it’s one of those dishes you must reserve about four hours of your time to put together.
3 lbs oxtail
1 lemon (juice)
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 large carrots
2 1/2 lbs pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion (diced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves garlic (smashed)
6-8 sprigs thyme
3 scallions (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup yellow split peas (washed)
8-10 cups hot water
3/4 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
2 tablespoon coconut cream (or 1 cup coconut milk)
3 large potato
2 large sweet potato
6-8 medium eddoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5-8 cups water
1/3 lb baby spinach
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup water (adjust)
Notes! May I recommend that you follow along with the video below as I discuss much more about the recipe there. You’ll notice I didn’t combine (total) all of the water and olive oil I used as it’s easier for you to follow along with the way I listed the ingredients. The goal is to cook the oxtails low and slow in the soup to get it fork tender. You’ll need a LARGE soup pot and a few friends to enjoy this soup. Or feel free to freeze leftovers.
Wash the cut oxtail pieces (get your butcher to cut it) with the juice of a lemon (lime or 1/2 cup vinegar will work also) and water, then pat dry with paper towels. Place them onto a baking tray and top with 1/2 tablespoon sea salt (use your fav salt, I just happen to only use sea salt in my home), 1 teaspoon black pepper and two tablespoon olive oil. Mix well to coat, then into the oven for one hour at 350 F.
Since I had the oven on, on another baking tray I placed my carrots and pumpkin (large pieces) and drizzled them with a tablespoon olive oil and roasted them as well. I scraped the carrot and peeled the pumpkin. If you cannot source calabaza pumpkin, just about any squash will work.
Once your oxtails are roasted, it’s time to add one tablespoon of olive oil into a large soup pot (I ended up having to switch over to a larger pot), then add the onion, garlic, thyme, scallions and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper on a medium flame. Stir well, turn the heat to medium/low and cook for 3 minutes.
It’s time to add the roasted oxtail pieces to the pot . As explained in the video, I used 1/2 cup of hot water to loosen the bits on the bottom of the roasting tray, which also went into the soup pot.
Raise the heat to medium high and cook for 2 minutes, before adding the tomato paste, 10 cups of water and Yellow Split Peas (washed). As it comes to a boil, toss in the Scotch Bonnet pepper (in the video I explain why you should or avoid breaking the pepper) and the Caribbean Green Seasoning. Reduce the heat to between a rolling boil and simmer and add 3/4 tablespoon salt. The oxtail will take a long time to get tender… this is just the start.
After 1 hour it’s time to add the roasted carrots and pumpkin (chop into smaller pieces as they cool from being in the oven).
Continue on that rolling boil/simmer for another 30-40 minutes. The pumpkin is meant to fall apart and along with the yellow split peas, thicken the soup.
I used eddoes, potato and sweet potato for the body of this oxtail soup, but you can also add dasheen (taro), green cooking banana, green plantain, cassava, yam.. just about anything you want basically. What I would recommend is that you cut the pieces large (as I did) so they don’t totally fall apart during the long cooking process.
This is when you’ll add okra if you’re a fan of it, as well as the coconut cream.
At this point I was forced to switch over to a larger pot as the soup needed a further 8 cups of water, since it was getting too thick for my liking.
One hour after adding the root vegetables, add the baby spinach and flour dumplings to the pot. The flour dumplings were shaped as what we refer to as being spinners.. from a dough made from 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon brown sugar and about 1/2 cup of water. Add more water if needed to form a soft dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes before pinching off tablespoon size pieces and shape by rolling between your hands to form a sort of small cigar.
Twenty minutes later and you’ll taste and adjust the salt, ensure the oxtail is tender and make sure you have a good amount of broth. Add more water if needed and adjust the seasoning a bit to compensate. Remember to be very gentle in stirring near the end or you’ll disintegrate the eddoes, potato etc.